Canadian Manufacturing

Ballard powers first hydrogen bus routes in France

The Vancouver-based firm has accepted an LOI from its Belgian partner Van Hool NV to power clean tram-buses with its fuel cells for use in Pau, France. Ballard expects to firm up contract details by the end of the year


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VANCOUVER—Vancouver-based fuel cell manufacturer Ballard Power Systems Inc. announced September 13 that it has accepted a Letter of Intent to provide its FCveloCity 100-kilowatt fuel cell engines to power eight tram-buses being built by Van Hool NV— a Belgian bus, coach and industrial vehicle manufacturer and one of Ballard’s partners in Europe.

Van Hool’s ExquiCity tram-buses will be delivered for use on transit networks in Pau, France duing the second half of 2019.

Ballard says these will be the first hydrogen bus routes in France and the world’s first hydrogen tram-buses for a full Bus Rapid Transit system.

Rob Campbell, Ballard chief commercial officer said, “This Letter of Intent from Van Hool to use our Heavy Duty power module in its tram-buses for deployment in Pau, France is a further testament to our strong partnership and Van Hool’s confidence in Ballard’s fuel cell technology and products. We are excited to see continued market expansion of fuel cell-powered mass transit vehicles in Europe, as typified by this tram-bus project. This is a further sign of the growing importance of zero-emission fuel cell solutions globally.”

The tram-buses will use fuel cells for primary power and lithium batteries for additional power when needed, with the only emission being water vapour. Each vehilce has a 125 passenger capacity and can travel 300 km before refueling.

“Van Hool is looking forward to applying its experience in the field of hydrogen-powered vehicles to the new tram-bus system in Pau. This is a challenge we are extremely happy to take on in our factory at Koningshookt. We have the necessary experience and confidence to make this project a success, leveraging our long-standing partnership with Ballard and its market-leading fuel cell products,” said
Filip Van Hool, CEO of Van Hool.

Ballard expects to firm up contract and delivery details prior to the end of 2017.


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